TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan announced its first case of a child under the age of five testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday (March 23).
During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced that the 175th case is the four-year-old son of the 171st case, marking the youngest person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in Taiwan since the outbreak began in January.
The 171st and 174th cases, both male coworkers in their 30s, traveled to the Netherlands for work-related reasons on Jan. 12 and Feb. 25, respectively. The 175th case and 178th case, who is a woman in her 30s, and family members of the 171st case joined in on the trip.
All four of them fell ill between March 7 and March 20. Upon arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on March 20, the four were identified by quarantine officers for further examination, and they each tested positive on March 23.
Regarding the child's infection, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) on Monday's press conference said the following:
"Although this is the youngest case in Taiwan, and a preschool-aged child, whether it's testing or treatment, it is the same [as an adult]. Of course, when a child is small, he still needs to have other family members around to divert his attention during the examination."
He added that there is no treatment or supportive therapy currently in place that is specific to children. He further stated that in addition to a lack of customized treatment protocols, there is also the problem of getting them to take their medicine.
However, Chuang said that available data on COVID-19 infections seem to indicate that the risk of infection in children is relatively low. CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said that the boy was in the early stages of the illness and had been completely asymptomatic when he first entered the country before later developing a fever.